Insignificant Other: Rules for No Strings Attached Relationships

Navigating the world of sex without being in a relationship can be tricky especially if the terms aren’t spelled out. People have a general idea about how to behave in a relationship, but sex without strings is an entirely different beast. Through the years I have found that following a few simple guidelines can make things work out for everyone involved.

Definitions
One Night Stand
(ONS): Someone you meet and just want to have sex with. Do it and go. Names not necessary

Friends with Benefits (FwB): The trickiest of the no strings attached (NSA) relationships. This is a friend that you know and care about that you have sex with. It is a slippery slope because on the surface it is not much different than having a boyfriend/girlfriend. Clear communication is key to saving the friendship after the sex stops.

Booty Call (BC): Sex on demand. This is an arrangement where you know that is the only thing you call for. This can be a short term (on vacation tryst) or long term thing.

The Rules

1) Open your mouth and speak up
Finding someone to have sex with either once or on a regular NSA is not as hard as people make it out to be. Men and women have itches that need to be scratched. There is nothing wrong with that, but some people just don’t want to admit it. Sure there is a certain romance in having it “just happen” but that rarely works out the way you want it to. When you are at the bar and it’s 15 minutes to closing and someone is giving you look, just open your mouth and say let’s go. Ladies this means you too. You know you want to fuck him, tell him. He doesn’t really care about your cellulite, shaving (legs or otherwise), bloat or anything if you walk up to him and say “let’s go”

2) Condoms
In any NSA situation condoms are required. No exceptions. PERIOD. Ladies you should always have some and so should the gentlemen. Gas stations, pharmacies, vending machines, free clinics have condoms, get them and use them every time. The onus to enforce the condom rule falls to the initiating party. If it’s a ONS the initiator stops/pays for the condoms. If it is a Friends with Benefits (FWB) or long term booty call then whoever initiates the call that time makes condom arrangements. If you don’t know if you have any at home just mention it when you are telling the other person to come over.

3) The act and after
The ONS: One night stands are like gambling. You may think someone is hot enough to get home but you end up having no chemistry in the bed (or living room or kitchen). When it is over the visitor leaves. No breakfast cooking it just adds to awkwardness. Get your jollies and go.

The FWB or BC: The good thing about a longer arrangement is that you get to know what your partner likes. You have a chance to try new stuff and really find what works for you. Take advantage of the more casual nature and learn how to communicate your needs effectively. You don’t have to hit it and run, but overnight stays are not a good idea. Actually sleeping with someone you are “sleeping with” leads to feelings creeping in. Feelings are the death knell for these types of relationships.

4) Talking (not dirty)
BC: Talking about your day, life, hopes and dreams while your clothes are on is unnecessary. You know what you are there for, exchange pleasantries and handle your business. For ladies especially, talking leads to feelings, feelings lead to caring and caring leads to complicating the blissful thing that is a booty call. I can’t tell you how many potentially great BC’s have been ruined by too much chit chat. It seems cold, but this isn’t a soul completing relationship it’s all about the physical. Hopes and dreams are cerebral and body is physical.

FWB: If you are real friends it’s hard not to talk about your day/life/hopes/dreams and you should but clarity is paramount with FWB. This is a breeding ground for jealousy and bitterness. If you are bumping uglies with your best friend carefully examine why they aren’t your significant other. Eventually they will move on, and it probably won’t be with you, so you need to make sure you are clear about it. This road goes both ways, when you have moved on, don’t rub it in their face. When you do find someone to be in a real relationship with, say something right away. If you have been open and honest from the beginning, there are no feelings to hurt because no one was deluding themselves about what was happening.

5) Sleeping over
Nope, no way, nada, never. If you are roommates- go to your own room. If you don’t live together go home or put them out. No cuddling, no post-coital pillow talk. If you are in a FWB or BC situation you can nap for a half hour or so but then go. Women (speaking as one) will want you to stay.  Sometimes it’s because we want to spoon, sometimes because we aren’t quite “done” yet. Unless you have a quick recovery period and can perform again, go home. There will be a next time. Always leave them wanting more. You don’t want to know that your fantasy lover snores, sucks their thumb or calls out for “mommy” in their sleep. NSA’s are about fantasy, not reality, maintain that fourth wall.

6) So many endings
Nothing lasts forever and eventually reality will creep into any arrangement. Feelings may develop, incompatibilities pop up, tastes outgrow partners, regardless there will be an end. If you have both (all) been honest from the beginning there should be nothing but fond memories and great stories. If you find yourself catching feelings you should speak up immediately. NSA’s require an ability to compartmentalize. Sex is an intimate act and the longer you have one partner the more intimate it becomes. It is rare to go from BC to significant other, and can be complicated the other way around too. Don’t delude yourself or feed the delusions of your partner. As Dan Savage puts it- use the campground rule- leave your site (partner) in better shape than you left it. Be honest about your needs and feelings if they come up, don’t let it fester and don’t play games. If you need to be the initiator of every encounter, say so, if they aren’t  cool with that then it’s bye-bye. NSA’s should be Bed suspended by stringsas stress free as any human encounter can be, if it starts to be a drag cut ties.

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